Israel strikes Hamas in Gaza after rocket fired

The US State Department said on Wednesday January 31 it had designated Ismail Haniyeh as a terrorist

In November 2017, Israel conducted explosions on tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip, killing 12 Palestinian fighters with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.

Also designated is Harakat al-Sabireen, an Iranian-backed group that operates mainly out of Gaza and the West Bank.

An army spokesperson said the suspects were under IDF surveillance from before they crossed the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

The State Department said in a statement that Haniyeh, along with two Islamist groups active in Egypt and one in the Palestinian territories, were listed as specially designated global terrorists. HASM for an attempted bombing of the Egyptian Myanmar embassy in response to the government's treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

Earlier this week, the US State Department and Treasury Department placed Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on their terror watch lists - effectively sanctioning the Hamas leader by freezing his assets and barring US citizens or companies operating in the US from doing business with him. He continues, "Today's actions are an important step in denying them the resources they need to plan and carry out their terrorist activities".

Emad al-Agha, a leader of the Fatah movement (Hamas's secular rival), decried Haniyeh's "terrorist" designation, urging Palestinians to escalate their protest activity against "hostile" US policy decisions.

"We give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands".

"American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year", he said.

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